Nationals Baseball: Random Fister thoughts

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Random Fister thoughts

Just some random thoughts bouncing around my head
  • If you made me bet on which pitcher would have the worst 2014, Fister, Porcello, or Scherzer, after much hemming and hawing I'd probably go with Fister. If you made me bet. If you didn't I wouldn't because I don't feel that strongly about it and the "worst" season of the three will still probably be a good one. 
  • One one hand you can see the Tigers' reasoning as they checked off a number of to-do list items with one trade. But it feels so much like they did C- jobs on those things.  Why not try to do an B+ job on two of them? (or more realistically do an A job on getting a pitching prospect). I wonder if Detroit painted themselves into a corner by ruling out an AL trade all-together. In the NL the Braves, Cardinals, Reds, and Dodgers all have pretty set rotations, leaving the Nats and Pirates as definite playoff caliber teams that might need a pitcher. 
  • Something that is kind of implicit in Fister's WAR stats, but understated? The guy is healthy. He's missed ~6 starts in 3 years. Given that Gio has missed none in that time period, ZNN has missed none he wasn't forced to miss in same, and Stras has only 2 games missed he wasn't sat for since coming back from TJ, this is a remarkably healthy front 4. 
  • If you think signing Ellsbury makes Cano a better target because the Yanks don't have the money anymore, you don't know the Yankees. All contract are seen as "what needs to be done to get the 5 years we want". They WANT to get under the cap, but they don't need to. Also I don't think Jay Z wants his first major outcome as a sports agent to be pulling his guy out of NY for what figures to be maybe slightly more money. (This is why the Yankees made their offer known). So either someone is going to blow 7 years 170 million out of the water or he'll be back. 
  •  If you're thinking that's not fair, well it is and it isn't. It isn't fair that the Yankees can generate so much revenue that they can outspend other teams while barely dipping in to their owner's pockets. It IS fair in the sense that these teams are all just multi-millionaire's toys. The Lerners are worth 4 BILLION. Dipping into their pockets for millions is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask. Let's say you have a small house, a car, a decent job, a little savings and a net worth of 400K. You like to travel and you decide you are going to save up 5K for a nice long vacation in Europe. Good for you, if you can do it. That's the equivalent of the Lerners spending 50 million of their own money to sign Cano. (And that's not even true because of the decreasing marginal utility of each dollar but we're not here for economics lessons)
  • I do think Detwiler ends up in the pen. He's a better choice to be given the starting role (stuff, pedigree, longer major league track record) but there are starting to be questions if his body can handle a full-season of pitching. Look for the next injury to send him permenantly into the bullpen. 
  • I put the Nats ahead of the Braves now. We'll see what I think in March though. 

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

2014.. world series or bust now that the rotation is staffed?

Harper said...

win a playoff series would be my goal.

JWLumley said...

Keep Rossweiler out of the pen. Although, I agree with Harper that it's what the Nationals will do, it isn't the best idea. If they're really going to move Detwiler to the pen, they should just trade him instead. They can easily get a good lefty reliever and a prospect or two if that's what they're intent on doing.

Donald said...

I think the fifth rotation spot is Detwiler's to lose. As long as he's healthy and pitching decently in spring training, he'll get the job. I don't see them choosing one of the other contenders just because they pitched even better than Det. I agree if he gets hurt, though, he's probably pen bound.

What's your best guess for the pen at this point? I'm assuming someone from the current list will need to go (Soriano, Storen, Clippard, Stammen, Mattheus, Cedano, Garcia, Ohlenddorf with Solis, Roark, Karns and Jordan waiting in the wings). If they trade Storen or Clippard, would that be for a leftie reliever or a bench guy?

My guess for the pen is Soriano, Clippard, Garcia, Stammen, Roark, Solis and a new leftie. Ohlendorf, Karns and Jordan start in Syracuse. Mattheus gets cut or traded for a bag of balls in spring training. Storen gets traded, but I don't know in what kind of deal.

Chinatown Express said...

Detwiler starts in the rotation but ends up in the pen by June after suffering another injury, replaced by whichever of Roark/Karns/Jordan/Solis is looking best. I'd love to be wrong about this.

There is no, no way Rizzo is trading Storen unless he gets a king's ransom. You and I understand sunk costs, but he doesn't: He gets married to his picks. There's a reason H-Rod lasted so long.

Why can't Zach Walter be our new Lombo? He's a SS, presumably he can play the whole infield, and he's a viable pinch hitter. I'd rather mix Walter's bat with Lombo's glove, but beggars can't be choosers.

Donald said...

@Chinatown -- I could well be wrong, but I get the feeling that there are some people in the Nats organization that still blame Storen for the playoff loss. Maybe that was just a vibe I got from Davey, though. So while I agree with your assessment of Rizzo holding onto his picks, I don't know if that'll apply to Storen or not. If they keep Storen, do they trade Clippard? I'm not sure they keep both, though that's certainly possible. I don't know which of them would bring back more in a trade. Clippard has obviously been much better and more consistent, but I don't know if he's viewed as a closer even though he did that for the Nats for a while. If Storen is traded, it would probably be as a closer.

DaveB said...

The LH reliever I would like to see Rizzo trade for would be Jake McGee (even tho he wasn't quite as dominant last year). Given TB's need for some power at 1B / DH, it seems like TyMo and Stammen might get this done. Would require us to replace Tyler, but seems like a power lefty is needed anyway, so maybe Nate McLouth or perhaps a trade for someone like Mitch Moreland, Adam Lind or Ryan Doumit.

Ishmael said...

Why do you say the Braves rotation is set? They've been reported to be looking for a veteran to add to their rotation.

BooyahSuckah! said...

Frankly, I'd like to see Burnett come back. I think letting him go was the single biggest mistake of last offseason. Yes, bigger than Haren, for two reasons. One, Haren only screws you every fifth day, not having a good lefty reliever can potentially screw you every day. Two, it wasn't a gamble like Haren, it was just stupid. Haren might've worked out. Losing Burnett was almost definitely bad. I thought so at the time, and I'd love to see him back.

Anonymous said...

Burnett threw 9.2 innings last year (for $3.5 million--I want that job!), so we didn't miss out on anything. He had elbow surgery in August.

I'm conflicted about Det in the pen, as he could be wicked in the Burnett role if he can stay healthy. Obviously he has much more value as a starter, though.

John C. said...

I'm shocked that you would pick Fister to have the worst season of Scherzer, Porcello and Fister this season. I know a fair number of Tiger fans, and not one thinks highly of Porcello. He had an awesome half season when he first came up and has been all kinds of meh ever since. He hasn't had an ERA+ above league average since 2009. Fister hasn't had an ERA+ below 113 since 2010. So yeah, could Porcello have a better 2014 than Fister? Sure - he is younger. But there is nothing in his track record that suggests it.

Heck, Scherzer and Fister have essentially the same career ERA+ even after Scherzer's amazing 2013. It's quite possible that in 2014 Fister will be better than Scherzer, who until 2013 had results much like Fister's (albeit with higher K numbers ... and higher BB numbers). Scherzer's BABIP was unsustainably low and his BB and HR/9 numbers were career bests. I was frankly afraid the Nats were going to give up Cole (or Giolito, God forbid) for one year of a major regression candidate and end up with fool's gold.

Strasburger said...

I love how the Nats clubhouse is being quiet about Drew. I think that they have big plans for him. What do you think of this prediction; Drew Storen will be our closer by COB July?

blovy8 said...

Given the way he worked hard at his mechanics in the minors, and his improvement down the stretch, I think it's possible Storen could end up closing again, he sure wants it enough. But it's also likely that there will be other options like Karns or Roark, or maybe a top SP prospect who can't develop their secondary offerings enough; you might see a conversion for a guy with big fastball like like Jake Johansen by 2015, for instance.

blovy8 said...

OK, so that's off the checklist, Fister at @7 million for the fourth starter role, but of course, it further diminishes the lefty possibilities in the pen. But it's a funny thing, through arbitration, Detwiler will probably be paid about what Howell will. I don't see the utility in Rizzo scrimping on that role. Detwiler can be a starting pitcher and a good reliever, it's just not going to be 180 innings. Howell has pretty much proven who he is and that's a good reliever. Three million going to Howell isn't going to break the bank, or stop them from signing any viable bench options in the short term. Yet, the rumor is about Oliver Perez, whose signing would be sure to spike antacid sales in the area. I don't get it, can you tell me, apart from fewer dollars, why Perez is the guy they're targeting?

BooyahSuckah! said...

Just a quick note on the earlier conversation about whether the Nats defense would make Fister's numbers even better than when he was playing with Detroit's awful infield. Mark Simon at ESPN noted that over the last two seasons, LaRoche and Zimmerman were 46 Defensive Runs Saved better than the Detroit corner combo of Fielder and Cabrera. While the middle of the infield isn't significantly better, that amount of improvement on the corners has GOT to be worth at least some statistical bump.

Anonymous said...

Assuming Roach and zims play every game. thats 46 runs saved over 1468 innings pitched. Assume Fister pitches 200 innings. thats 6.3 Earned runs less on a season for Fister. So you are looking at an overall effect of about 0.25 ERA on the season.

John C. said...

Nice job on the defensive numbers, booyah. Interesting stuff. Add some other benefit to not having to pitch to a DH, and Fister's potential becomes a little clearer.

On who the team is targeting, everyone seems to know who Rizzo is interested in, then no one sees the move coming. Whether it's signing Jayson Werth, the Gio Gonzalez trade, or the Fister trade, more often than not we are surprised. Then we go right back to believing that we (or even the pundits) know what Rizzo's priority list is. We should all remember that internet chatter is frequently based on empty speculation that gets blown into a tweet and then into a story. Don't assume that Perez is the Nats' LHRP target.

And it's not the salary that makes Howell challenging, it's the duration. With Javier Lopez getting 3/$13M from the Giants, it's likely to take 3/$15M or more for Howell (who is much better than Lopez). Unless you're the Dodgers, Yankees or Red Sox you simply can't pay all 25 guys multi-million dollar salaries.

blovy8 said...

Parra got only two years, it's still probable Howell wouldn't need three. But he's a lot better than Perez in any case, and multiple years wasn't an issue when they signed Soriano, clearly it just was a boilerplate reason gave when they weren't want to re-sign Burnett and didn't want to actually go into specifics.

John C. said...

There's a difference between going two years with an option for Soriano last year (where the years were 2013 and 2014) than signing for 2-3 years this year (2014 and 2015), because the payroll is escalating as more players qualify for arbitation. A fair percentage of Soriano's contract was also deferred, further mitigating the damage. It would be a different situation than going three years (2014-2016) for a relief pitcher now.

That said, I'd be happy if they signed Howell to a deal and signed Erik O'Flaherty to a two year deal, possibly with an option year.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at the loogy fixation on all the Nats' boards, particularly for guys way overpriced for what minimal benefit they would bring to the team. Unless Matty W. uses the 'pen radically differently, the Nats will have little need for a situational lefty, certainly no more than one.

So what's Rizzo got working? As John C. says, it's not for us to know. The big question to me is whether he is satisfied with the lineup, or if he thinks we need another bat. Cano is the only free agent who would really make an impact, and I can't see him playing anywhere but NY or LA, both money-wise and lifestyle-wise.

So the option left for the Nats would be a trade. The optimal target would be someone who is undervalued and affordable, as Fister was.

There are still other holes, particularly on the bench. They're not going to go into the season with Solano as the backup catcher. But neither are they going to pay the inflated free-agent rate. We'll see. The stove is just starting to heat up.

Anonymous said...

Mea cupla--Cano's going to Seattle, never to be seen or heard from again, particularly not in the playoffs. Enjoy the rain!

John C. said...

Just out of curiosity, Harper - why do you feel that Fister will have the worst season of Scherzer, Fister and Porcello? Other than, he's the one Rizzo traded for (which makes him inherently suspect).

I've given reasons for why I think it's likely he does better than Porcello, and quite possibly better than Scherzer even putting aside the change in leagues. I'd be interested in knowing the other side of the argument.

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